There is only one secret you need to know to be successful in your public relations efforts. Newspaper, radio, TV, bloggers–doesn’t matter what outlet you’re angling for. There is only sure-fire way to get ink every single time. Ready?

Have interesting news.

That’s it. It’s just that simple. True, there are a few other factors to consider, like sending the information to the right people at the right time with the right hook, but none of the rest of that information matters if your news is not interesting and relevant to actual human beings. Before you bang out that news release and carpet bomb it to every reporter in the city (or ask your poor PR flack to do it for you, against her objections), ask yourself these questions:

  1. If I didn’t know me, would I care? If I was reading through my busy email inbox and saw this subject, would I open the email? If I was flipping through a newspaper and saw that headline, would I read that article? That’s what the reporter you just sent that press release is asking herself. If you can’t get past that obstacle, you’re dead in the water.
  2. Where is my ego in all this? One of the single biggest reasons people come to us wanting press releases is because of ego. Ego is healthy; ego is good. Ego is what keeps us aware and motivated and moving forward. I’m a fan of ego…provided your recognize it for what it is and squash it down when it gets in the way of being awesome.  What’s the real reason you’re sending this press release? Be honest with yourself. If you just want to see your name in print and have money to burn, go for it. But don’t be surprised when your ego-related press release fails the first test.
  3. Why PR? Why are you choosing to strike out and try to get earned media (which cannot be controlled) instead of paid or digital media (which an be controlled to various degrees)? What are you trying to accomplish? It can be a difficult road to draw a connection between getting press coverage and increasing sales. Sure, sometimes a book was featured on Oprah, the PR flack’s now-defunct holy grail, and shot to the top of the Bestseller’s List, but those instances are few and far between. Is your pitch actually something that will help you further your business goals and sell more, attract new leads, get new customers? If the answer is “no” or “probably not,” go back to question two.
Done properly, public relations is a fantastic way to build your business and get the word out about major industry moves, shifts and trends. But remember: if no one cares, no one’s going to publish it. Find compelling story hooks, send them to the right people at the right time and you can’t fail.